Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Letters to Bessie

My much-loved grandmother, Bessie (Barnhart) Moothart, died a few years back. She'd lived a long and productive life and is still missed by those of us in our family. Imagine my surprise to receive a phone call from a gentlemen saying he had letters to a Bessie Barnhart that were dated 1908-1911. He had called some Barnharts in the region and was given my name and phone number as her granddaughter. At the time I didn't question the dates on the letters, I just assumed they were letters written to my grandmother that had somehow gotten tragically left in an apple bin (of all things) and eventually given to a local historian to see if he could find the family of the lady in question.

Recently those letters were left in my possession. What a treaure they are! Unfortunately, as I looked through them, the dates, the addresses, the names -- I began to question that they really were MY grandmother's letters. Sadly, they are not. So begins the great mystery. How did letters written 100 years ago in Missouri addressed to a woman with my grandmother's maiden name end up in Washington state not 50 miles from where my Grandmother lived most of her adult live? Even more coincidental was the fact that my grandparents were apple orchardists so the fact that something may have been accidentally thrown out in a bin during the retirement move they made in 1975 was fairly plausible. How long these letters were out in the weather in this bin is anyone's guess.

These letters are truly a wonderful gift for the family they actually belong to. So...here's my plan. Each of the letters (there are about 24) will be dutifully transcribed and posted here on this blog. I will be going through them carefully and putting them in chronilogical order. It is my hope to post some of the pictures of the envelopes and actual letters too. Maybe someone out there will be doing research on the correct Bessie Barnhart and this blog will pop up on their search. Stranger things have happened. In the meantime I will carefully store these letters and in time if nothing happens I will turn them over to a historical society, possibly the local one but more likely to one in Missouri where it seems these letters originated.

I think this will be fun!

1 comment:

  1. OMGosh!!!! This is such a cool project!!!! I love reading books that are in the form of letters, and what a CRAZY story, such a mystery.